Lazy Daisy Duff a.k.a. Sad Cake

Tasty, simple, everyday recipe

By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor

What do you eat when you invite someone over for tea?

In the past (think 19th century), homemakers were trained to be able to whip up a pound cake as soon as they caught wind that a neighbour would be stopping by. Their pantries at the ready, and perhaps even already containing an array of baked goods, people of yore were always prepared with a carb- and sugar-laden confection to put down on the table.

These days, I think the norm is to plunk down a bowl of stale pretzels, if anything, when entertaining—or perhaps to not even entertain at all. Baking for friends, family, and even acquaintances seems to be a lost art. Or at least it was for me, until my former roommate and current bestie taught me this one, super simple cake recipe that takes about five minutes to prepare, 35 minutes to bake, and 30 seconds to gobble up.

My friend introduced this cake as Lazy Daisy Duff, but over the years that I’ve made it, I’ve given it several names. Morning Cake when I have it for breakfast, Christmas Morning Cake when I delight my family with it on December 25, and Sad Cake, as in the case of the 2011 federal election when, so distraught by the looming Conservative majority government, all I could think to do was hastily assemble this cake through tear-stained eyes.

So, dear reader, if you like cake for breakfast, if you like crying, and especially if you like impressing folks over tea and study dates, read on!

Sad Cake, simply put, is a plain cake made of butter, cake stuff, and fruit. Any fruit really. And not even butter—you can use margarine, or vegan spread. I’ve had success adapting this cake so it’s gluten-free. I’ve substituted the milk for almond milk and used myriad combinations of fruits and nuts as the toppings.

To make the cake, first place the butter in your nine-inch cake pan or cast iron pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and put the buttered-up pan inside. As the oven heats up, it melts the butter, giving you time to prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To make the batter, simply mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour the milk in, and mix until the batter is just blended—don’t over-mix. Depending on the fruit topping I plan to use, I sometimes add a pinch of cinnamon or a teaspoon of vanilla to my batter.

Once you have your batter and toppings set up, take the melted butter out of the oven. Spoon the batter onto the butter in little blobs. Then scatter the fruit on top—or artfully place it, whatever you’re into. I know, this all sounds very weird, and your cake will look like a total disaster when you pop it in the oven, but have faith. Set a timer for 35 minutes, and you will pull out a crispy on the bottom, fruit-covered, sweet, oozing, and delectable breakfast/snack/dessert.

Sad Cake

Prep time: five minutes

Bake time: 35 minutes


You will need:1/4 cup butter, melted in cast iron pan

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
2 cups fruit, either fresh, frozen, or canned

Topping options:

Frozen mixed berries
Canned peach slices and frozen blackberries
Frozen raspberries, sliced almond, and honey drizzle
Sliced apples and sliced pears, with cinnamon in batter
Just plain strawberries (pictured)